Matt Perronzio states that Facebook has over 1 billion active users, which makes it one of the largest social networks in the world. Individuals use Facebook to connect with friends and family, share thoughts and ideas and even advertise business opportunities in order to obtain customers and reach potential clients. Individuals must be 13 years and older if they want to use Facebook.
It is not uncommon for teachers to see children connecting to Facebook via their phones or laptops. Research suggests that 70% of smartphone users are frequent Facebook visitors, with individuals checking and logging into Facebook 13 times a day.
What to do if you receive a friend request from one of your students
Facebook allows individuals to engage in personal interactions between members. This is why it can be uncomfortable for a teacher to receive a friend request from one of his/her students. Bree McEwan, an assistant professor of communication, notes that Facebook can be very personal and it may be best to wait until your students have graduated before accepting any friend requests.
“Whatever one’s policy is, it is important to create the same policy for all students” Says McEwan.
Vice versa, it is important to note that students may feel uneasy receiving a friend request from their teachers. So try not to put them in that situation.
Using social media in the classroom
Facebook and other social networks can be used in schools in the sense that you can find almost anyone on social media. Nancy Caruso, assistant head, states that their school uses social media in order to interact with people around the world. “In our classes we seek to engage in authentic discussions targeting multiple perspectives, and accessing this through social media has allowed us to build relations with schools around the globe. Social media has extended the classroom walls and broadened our audience.” In addition to interacting with individuals around the world, Facebook can also be used for promoting school activities and communication. Teachers have the option of setting up a Facebook page for their school. Content can be uploaded here regarding school activities and important information.
While social media may lead to informative and insightful information and connections, it is crucial for all teachers (as well as students) to read the privacy settings very carefully and exercise care when posting content and pictures online.